This story is over 5 years old.

Overcoming Time At The Constantines Reunion

For their first show in four years, Constantines proved that time can be overcome.

In a haze of smoke and overdrive, roughly 200 sweat-soaked believers managed to perform a resurrection in Guelph last night, when Constantines took the stage for the first time in four years. With an audience packed like sardines into the whitewashed back warehouse space of an NDP campaign headquarters, lead singer Bry Webb sat on the side of the stage, let out a deep breath, and laughed. Then, Vish Khanna stood up and told everyone what they were already thinking. “It’s just been too goddamned long, hasn’t it?”


The familiar hard rumble of Doug MacGregor’s opening beat to “Draw Us Lines” kicked in. The heavy squall of guitar overdrive started to fill the air. And, hurtling toward the end of the song, Webb growled, “don’t give in/call on her/and live in fascination/fascination forever.” Constantines were back. And the crowd, for the next hour and a half at least, would live in fascination, while the band played with all the immediacy of teenage runaways, barreling down the Trans-Canada, chasing the sunset, lyrics from “Young Offenders” filling the air. “Young hearts be free tonight/time is on your side.”

There were signs of just how much they’d grown up since 2003’s Shine a Light. There were new CONS shirts in children’s sizes, and Webb dedicated “Young Lions” to his son Asa, and thanked Lindsay, his babysitter. But Constantines have managed, through embracing that growth, to stay young, and not sound stale or worn, the way most reunited bands do (for a master’s class in this, just check out anything the Pixies have done in the past 10 years). There was no sign of cash-grab lethargy or begrudging slogs through songs – just five people running through a set they were visibly excited to hammer out.

The crowd could tell, because they were just as excited to see them doing it, singing along, hands in the air. Sweaty, bearded dudes jumped up and down and yelled at the top of their lungs and hugged each other. There was a family affair vibe hanging in the air, and as the band wailed through the end of “Arizona” and walked off the stage, it would’ve been hard to find someone without a wide grin plastered on their face. But, of course, that wasn’t the end.


“The great thing about an encore is that you can take your sweet, sweet time,” Webb said, cracking a beer. And after a few last moments, they slaughtered the room with the heavy stomp of “Do What You Can Do,” the closing track from Kensington Heights, the last album of new material they ever put out. Webb thanked the crowd for helping to make their first show in four years “perfect,” and they waved their goodbyes. Khanna once more managed to articulate what was on everyone’s mind, “time can be overcome, ladies and gentlemen. Time can be fucking overcome.”

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer living in Toronto - @MattGeeWilliams


People watching at a Guelph music festival

Elaquent is letting his music take him everywhere

Tuning pianos with Alanna Gurr